Press Releases

Congressman Baird Votes No on Gun Control Bills

Washington, DC – Congressman Jim Baird (IN-04) voted no on H.R. 1446, the Enhanced Background Checks Act and H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act.

“These gun control bills punish law-abiding Americans rather than focus on criminals breaking the law. Studies show most criminals obtain firearms through illicit means like purchasing them on the black market and these bills would do little to prevent firearms from getting into their hands. If we want to decrease gun crime, we need to enforce the laws that are already on the books like prosecuting straw purchasers,” said Congressman Baird.

H.R. 1446 would allow the government to delay a firearm sale from 3 days to 20 days as a background check is completed. First, this puts an unnecessary barrier on Americans’ constitutional right to own a firearm. Second, the current National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has proven to be sufficient. In 2020, NICS processed a record 39.7 million background checks — ten million more than the previous record. Third, this bill will not close the “Charleston loophole” or would not have prevented the horrific shooting that took place at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The shooter was able to purchase a firearm on April 16 — two months prior to the shooting on June 17 — because of errors in filing paperwork and communication between law enforcement agencies.

The background check process requires all commercial firearm purchases to be either approved, denied, or delayed for further investigation during the FBI background check. When they are delayed the sale can be held for up to 3 days. If the FBI does not deny the sale in that time the sale can proceed. However, the FBI does not stop investigating the purchaser if they have failed to make a determination after 3 days. If the FBI determine the purchaser was a prohibited person after 3 days, the ATF can be called to retrieve the firearm.

H.R. 8 would require all firearm sales, private and commercial to be subjected to background checks. Current federal law states that all commercial firearm sales are subject to background checks but private sales between private citizens are exempt. The Constitution does not give the federal government authority to regulate non-commercial, intrastate transfers of legal firearms between private citizens.

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